Rihanna did not mince words talking to Oprah about Chris Brown ... saying very simply, "I still love him."
As part of tonight's episode of "Oprah's Next Chapter," O asked RiRi where her relationship with Chris stands today, nearly three years after his brutal attack on her.
Rihanna explained, "We're very, very close friends. We built a trust again and that's it. We love each other and we probably always will."
RiRi says the two are just friends now and they are in no way back together ... though she did admit, "I think he was the love of my life."
Let's hope not.